How to Improve Your Memory

How to Improve Your Memory

Trying to remember things and failing miserably every time is one of the surest causes of extreme stress. After all, a lot of the time, we need to remember important things and wind up forgetting them. Interestingly, this recent generation is certainly faced with much more information than previous years, thanks to the onset of the information revolution.

This is perhaps a major reason why everyone seems to be struggling with information overload!

How Many People Ten Years Ago Had to Remember Ten Usernames, Ten Different Passwords, all Used in Different Combinations, as Well as Four Personal Mobile Phone Numbers?

No wonder mobile phones are so popular, thanks to their help of no longer needing to memorize other people's phone numbers! Could it be that the increased amount of information and the numerous ways of keeping track of them has deteriorated our brains?

Anyway, it is still possible to get around the overload and remember the things that really matter. Perhaps you can try these research-proven ways to boost your memory, so that when the need arises, you will have a breeze spouting off the necessary information.

  • The first trick that people swear by that helps them remember things is by repeating the information as soon as they hear it. For example, remembering a person's name would be much simpler if they could repeat the name a few times instead of just hearing it once. Also, saying the name or something out loud is also proven to improve data retention.

  • Biting off bigger pieces is also known to enhance retention. For example, remembering a phone number becomes easier when you divide the individual digits into groups. This is because the brain can apparently only accept a limited amount of information. Taking them as chunks means you actually need to remember less.

  • Getting enough sleep is also an important aid in improving your memory. Apparently, different parts of the brain are in charge of creating different kinds of memories, such as a name, a face, or even the thought that you have just met someone. Sleep helps knit those memories into one coherent whole. Research also shows that long-term memory is improved when the subject gets enough sleep consistently. For example, a study on people who are given a list of words to memorize showed that those who were then allowed to sleep remembered more compared to the group that did not doze off.

  • Keeping stress levels at bay is also one tip of improving the way you remember things. The stress hormone cortisol possibly interferes with information encoding or retrieval in one's brain, which is the scientific reason why somebody who is under a lot of stress will normally be absent-minded. In fact, doctors pinpoint this hormone on why people forget more easily as they grow older, since chronic elevated levels of cortisol are linked to memory impairment.

  • Eating brain food is not just a joke; there are indeed some foods that are good for the brain. The most common is fish high in omega-3 fatty acids, such as tuna, salmon and sardines. Walnuts and berries are also good, with the latter containing much anthocyanins, which are potent antioxidants that keep protect cells, including those in the brain.

  • Playing mind games are apparently only good for improving memory. This includes puzzles and even learning to play an instrument. Interestingly not only is music known to improve brain function, such as the recommendation of classical music for babies, it is also known to reduce stress. As such taking up music as a hobby may actually hit two birds with one stone.

Reviewed By:

Dr. Kaushal M. Bhavsar (MBBS, MD)

Assistant Professor in Pulmonary Medicine, GMERS Medical College, Ahmedabad